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THE PROPERTY OF THE FAMILY OF WOODSTOCK INC.
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Details
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Provenance
From the Jewish catacomb of the Via Appia, Rome
Literature
Published in B. Chilton, The Epitaph of Himerus from the Jewish Catacomb of the Via Appia, Jewish Quarterly Review, LXXIX, Nos 2-3, October 1988-January 1989

Lot Essay

This epitaph, discovered in 1859 by Raffaele Garucci in a catacomb constructed for Jewish use, has only recently re-emerged from a long period of obscurity. When discovered in the last century the inscription, along with many others, had to be removed owing to structural problems in the catacomb and, in the resulting confusion, was lost. In February 1988 the epitaph was brought to Dr Bruce Chilton at Bard College for identification, bearing evidence of its removal from the tomb in January 1873.

The epitaph is of considerable historical interest. Dr Chilton writes: "Particular interest attaches to the last word of the inscription MOYNNA. The oddity of the spelling is so great that the acumen of the original transcriber, Raffaele Garucci, has been questioned... The suggestion is here developed that MOYNNA is most plausibly taken as reflecting the Hebrew phrase concerning faith The epitaph, then, not only confirms what was known previously but may require us to consider that the language of the Jews in Rome during the Second Century included some reminiscence of Aramaic."
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